Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
II: Byzantium and the Crusades, 1261-1354, pp. [unnumbered]-68 PDF (9.6 MB)
Ch. II BYZANTIUM AND THE CRUSADES, 1261-1354 39 George Metochites, archdeacon of Constantinople, and the grand intendant Theodore, met in 1276 with Gregory, probably first in southern France and later at Lausanne, where they witnessed the western emperor Rudolph of Hapsburg taking the cross.29 Already at Lyons Gregory had proclaimed that the arms of both the eastern and the western emperors would crush Islam, and Michael in turn had promised that Byzantium would contribute provisions, revenues, troops, and whatever else was necessary for the passagium to the Holy Land. Undoubtedly Michael had at first suggested the general idea of a crusade as an inducement to curry favor with Gregory. Now, however, his envoys came forward with a striking new propo sal: that the Latin crusaders, instead of crossing by sea, should proceed by land across the Balkans to Constantinople and thence through Asia Minor.30 Apparently Michael had in mind a repetition of what had been achieved by his predecessor Alexius I: reconquest from the Turks, by means of the crusader armies, of the former Byzantine territories in Anatolia. Execution of such a plan would not only restore Asia Minor to Byzantine rule and avert the danger of the Turks in general, but at the same time serve to thwart the growing menace of the Mamluks of Egypt, who were now penetrating Cilician Armenia. According to Metochites' report, pope Gregory seemed favorable to the plan. Impressed by Michael's plea for the recovery of "the hallowed Christian cities of Asia Minor," Gregory agreed that the land route would avoid for the western armies the hardship and danger of a long sea voyage as well as providing a strong base of operations from which to take and maintain Jerusalem. Moreover, the grave problem of finding enough ships to transport the western armies across the Mediterranean would be solved. To insure complete accord on the plan, pope and emperor, it is interesting to note, were to meet personally for discussions either at Brindisi on the Adriatic or at Avlona in northwest Epirus.31 But the death of Gregory in January 1276 removed the possibility of a united Christendom opposing the Turkish advance in Asia Minor. Not that such a joint venture would easily have succeeded. The 29. M. H. Laurent, Le Bienheureux Innocent V (Pierre de Tarentaise) et son temps (Studi e testi, 129; Vatican City, 1947), PP. 269, 440. 30. See report of Metochites in V. Laurent, "Le Rapport de Georges Métochite, aprocrisi aire de Michel VIII Paleologue auprès du pape Grégoire X (1275—1 276)," Revue historique du sud-est europëen, XXIII (1946), 233—247, and V. Laurent, "Grégoire X"; cf. Geana koplos, Emperor Michael, pp. 287—289. 31. M. H. Laurent, Le B. Innocent V, pp. 439—440; Geanakoplos, Emperor Michael, pp. 288—289.
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